July 22, 2013

Beginners Guide to Bento

By Stuart Turner

BentoIf you are just starting to pack bento lunches it may a better, and cheaper idea to start with a generic plastic box from the likes of a pound shop or other budget stores.

I would also advise for your first box to be a one tier square/ rectangle box as this eliminates some of the packing challenges that can come with two tier or oddly shaped boxes.

Food-wise I would suggest just packing a few simple components and leaving out any extra frills.

Some great foods for bento are:

  • Meat cutlets, meat bites, minced meat or tofu/ Quorn for vegetarians.
  • Vegetable mixes. These are readily available frozen from Iceland and Tesco. If you don’t like frozen vegetables you can buy fresh vegetables and cut into small pieces and mix together.
  • Rice, noodles, pasta etc.

When first packing try not to focus too much on how your lunch looks but on how healthy and tasty it will be. After all a tasty and  varied lunch will look great anyway!

Most bento packers follow the 3:2:1 ratio of 3 parts rice, 2 parts vegetables and 1 part meat. This is a great outline but it may not work for everyone so just use your initiative. A lunch box full of cakes and chocolate isn’t good for anyone!

If you have a square box here are some simple layouts:

3 Item

3 piece bento

4 Item


6 Item

bento example

3 Item Alternative

bento 3 piece

Heres my effort at the alternative 3 item example:


It contains rice, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and a chicken cutlet. Easy right?

I bet you can do an even better job!

Keith Stratton,
Oh!Bento UK

Bento Boxes
Bento Box

Main Img courtesy of Mokiko

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